Japanese firms mull licencing plastic gasification technology

A group of four Japanese companies are studying a partnership for an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) business which will licence a technology developed for “plastic waste gasification”.

Yokohama-based engineering firm JGC Corp.; waste and recycling specialist Ebara Environmental Plant Co., Ltd; Tokyo-headquartered industrial group Ube Industries, and materials supplier Showa Denko aim to conclude a licencing contract for the Ebara Ube Process (EUP) and promote the technology within a year, the companies announced 10 Sept. 

The EUP, developed by Ube and Ebara in 2000, is a process that gasifies plastic waste using partial oxidation with oxygen and steam, and produces synthesis gases that can be utilised in the synthesis of ammonia, olefins, and other chemicals.

The technology recycles various types of plastics with impurities, which are difficult to recycle through mechanical processes. 

A gasification facility using EUP has been in operation since 2003 at Showa Denko’s Kawasaki plant, with an annual waste processing capability of 70 kilotonnes.

The Showa Denko’s plant, the statement said, proves that EUP is “the only” chemical recycling process with a long-term track record of commercial operation.

The move to create an EPC business to promote the technology has been prompted by the increasing concerns over plastic waste globally. 

“While Japan’s plastic recycling ratio is 86%, only 13.5% of the plastics waste is recycled as resources and the rest is exported to other countries or thermally recycled,” said the statement citing 2017 figures.

The establishment of "resource recycling systems", the statement added, is “urgently needed” in Japan and other countries amid tightening regulations for solid waste import in China and southeast Asian countries.

» Publication Date: 12/09/2019

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